Yep. Yesterday was Monday. Everyone’s beloved day. I’m no motivational speaker, either. Monday is simply the day I go back to the gym after being a sloth all weekend. I started back with my trainer this week, and since he hasn’t seen me all summer, he wanted to do a another baseline test on me. (monday image credit)
Part of this test was a body fat calculation, using one of those electronic body fat calculators where you hold the handles and it sends an electronic wave through your body to calculate the amount of fat vs. lean muscle. Or something like that. I don’t actually really understand it, but I understood the result. 34% body fat. Weight 152.5 lbs. And I’m 5’3″ on a good day.
He also wanted to do a BMI. I told him flatly, “I do not need to be told I’m obese today. Because I am not.” He looked at me and said, “Not remotely close, but it’s an interesting measure we could take.” I cocked my head sideways, gave him a go fuck yourself look, and he quickly dropped that idea.
Now, numbers are just that. Numbers. I know at 152.5 lbs that my clothes fit somewhat close to the same as they did when I weighed almost 15 lbs less, but had very little muscle. I was simply thinner, not strong. In my fitness journey over the last year, I’ve seen my body change dramatically; I’ve gotten significantly stronger (which is my goal), and can now see definition in places I’ve never seen it. I’ve had to get rid of certain shirts because they no longer fit around my arms, and I’m OK with that. I’d rather see the muscle definition in my arms. Plus, this summer when I’ve flexed my arms, I’ve been cracking myself up by saying, “Sun’s out, guns out.” Trust me, the whole thing – the image vs. the reality, and my dorkiness is hysterical. As well, some of my pants fit tighter around the thigh; again, I’m OK with that because of the muscle.
But what happens when we focus on the numbers becomes a total female bullshit psychological game, and I almost fell for it this morning. Note my comment above about not wanting to do a BMI.
I started this physical journey slightly over a year ago because I simply didn’t like what I saw when I looked in the mirror. At the time, I has no idea what I weighed, I simply knew my clothes weren’t fitting well, and I felt overly flabby. It also didn’t help that I was pasty white like a vampire because I can’t really go out in the sun without breaking out in hives – perimenopause is awesome. I started kickboxing and eating much better, and my clothes started fitting much better by the end of last summer. When I started doing metabolic workouts regularly around this time last year, I weighed myself as a baseline; I weighed 140 lbs last year this time. As I gained muscle, my body shape shifted, and I started to slowly creep up in weight. My clothes fit tighter in certain places, and looser in others as my body continually changed. I was and still am aiming for strong. I knew the weight might come up. I’m also someone whose blood sugar can be extremely erratic under ‘normal’ circumstances, so when I work out, I need to monitor my eating even more. And this is where I’ve slipped. I knew it yesterday morning. This summer, I started to tell myself, Honey, you’ve work hard for a long time, go ahead and have the cupcake after lunch, and that ice cream cone after dinner. Uh-huh. I rested on dumbass laurels that weren’t worthy of rest.
My trainer asked what my goals were this time around. I explained a pretty lofty goal for me. I wanted to be able to run a 7 minute mile by Memorial Day, so I could run with my daughter in a relay run she takes part in every Memorial Day. It’s her final run as a senior, and I want to be able to manage at least one mile with her at her pace. And then I grabbed my belly and said, “I want to lose the food baby, too.” He snorted – hard. I don’t think he’d heard that term before.
After knowing the 34% body fat and weight numbers, I admitted I’d slipped off the decent eating bandwagon this summer, and happily indulged in ice cream several times a week, as well as cupcakes, doughnuts, and yeah… the list could go on. I told him I understood the 80/20 rule, but I had kinda lived the other way around this summer – 20% good, 80%…well, not so much. And I was paying the price with my clothes – I was spilling over the edges.
And that stupid body fat calculator threw me for a psychological loop – it said I had 52 lbs. of body fat. Accurate or not, I looked at my trainer and stupidly said, “So, I have 52 lbs I could lose.” Even I knew it was an asinine comment as I made it, but that effin body fat calculator…He got deadpan serious, and this is when he cocked his head to the side. He said, “Look, if you lost 52 lbs, you’d be 0% body fat, and be nothing but skin, bones, and freak muscle. It’s borderline impossible, and is that really your goal? Most women are somewhere in the 20 something percentile range for body fat. A good goal for you, since you love food is probably 25%, and if you are just conscious of what you’re putting in your body and keep working out, you’ll easily and quickly get there.” Thank you for the reality check, my dear. And this is why I love him. (chocolate image credit)
Let me stop here and say I don’t give a rat’s ass about what others think about how I look, and I certainly could not care less about media-driven standards of what a woman should look like. I am all about loving the body I’m in, and embracing where I am at any given moment. But I started this because physical journey because I wasn’t feelin’ it when I looked at myself – clothed or naked. Sure I want to look good, but I also want to feel good, outside and in.
It’s been a humbling experience changing my body this past year – I’ve had to acknowledge and work through limitations and defeat. The best thing I did after the first week was check my ego at the door. She can be a total bitch, anyways. She needed to stay behind. This getting in shape deal is all about me and how I feel. I don’t like when I spill over the edges of my pant waistline. I’ve never liked muffin tops, unless it was on a decadent streusel-topped actual muffin. I don’t want to look that way, and I don’t want to go buy more clothes simply because I’ve been lazy about what I put in my mouth. It’s my own personal dislike, and the bane of my existence since I love food. I own that dislike of physical muffin tops, just like I own why I got to the place of spilling over my pants to begin with, which is because I ate too many things similar to that. I ate more crap than I ever should have this summer. I just want to fit in the clothes I own and love, without spilling over the edges. And I want to be strong. And it’s time I owned my failure these last few months. I set out a year ago to become a better version of me, and eating crap was getting me nowhere.
I even started to feel the effects of my less than stellar diet towards the end of this summer – I wasn’t able to sustain lengthy workouts or I was left overly winded. And I felt like I was starting to look like a distressed puffer fish again, which is what led me to start this journey in the first place. Jean and I were talking about talking about food yesterday; she had spent the weekend with a friend, and they’d bought this lovely pie. When her husband came home after being gone all weekend, she was ready to share this lovely pie with him, but he was in a foul mood. She wanted to yell at him, “Thanks for sucking all the fun out of this lovely pie.” Things we think vs. things we say. She tried to coax her son, and as he is leaving for Basic Training this week, he said, “Eh, I better not.” So, as she said this morning, “I now have this lovely pie that everyone has sucked the fun out of, and no one wants to eat it.” I told her I would have. Her comment, “Well, honey, you do have a sugar problem.” This is what good friends do, sometimes. They’re brutally honest with you, and you understand their truth. Yep. Yep, I do have a sugar problem, and my physical journey was going nowhere because I was making poor choices. fish image attribution
So yesterday morning was my wake up call. No more pie, dammit (or doughnuts, or cookies, or ice cream, or…) I need to get my diet in check. Not the four letter word diet that makes me want to murder someone after 72 hours, but the kind that reevaluates my food choices. The kind that balances healthy protein, carbs, and healthy fats. And contains WAY less sugar. I will weep as I walk past a good lookin’ cupcake, and maybe I’ll indulge here and there – maybe once a week, but I can no longer indulge daily. That’s what has brought me back to that puffer fish feeling, and I don’t like it. Wish me luck.
So my new way to get sugar? I guess I’m gonna have to grow my nails out.